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Archive for October 14th, 2011

More of “More Hits by The Supremes”

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Rejoice, Supremes fans! Hip-o Select today announced the release of the next expanded album package by Motown’s most famous girl group, a double-disc edition of More Hits by The Supremes with tons of exciting bonus content.

By 1965, the years of the “no-hit” Supremes at Motown Records were history. The previous year had seen three consecutive No. 1 hits – “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me” – and another two consecutive chart-toppers would be added to the list with “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Back in My Arms Again.” In the summer of 1965, after the release of the Top 20 hit “Nothing But Heartaches,” Motown assembled a record featuring those last three singles, their B-sides and another six album tracks, all penned by the Holland-Dozier-Holland hitmaking team and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier.

That album is the centerpiece of Select’s new expanded edition, presented in both the original mono and stereo mixes on one disc. As an extra-special bonus, the first disc rounds out with the group’s rare radio commercials for Coca-Cola and an alternate take of The Supremes’ interview with Motown’s Booker Bradshaw (the original take was released on a promotional single in 1965).

The bonus disc brings together Supremes treasures in the studio, on stage and even abroad. Three tracks from a gig at Detroit’s Fox Theatre begin the disc, followed by a set of unused songs and alternate takes of The Supremes’ biggest hits of ’65. (Some of the tracks, familiar to longtime collectors from previous box sets and compilations, are making their debut in stereo.) The bonus disc closes out with the fascinating pair of singles released by Motown in Germany, featuring German-language versions of “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Come See About Me” with unique B-sides (all heard on the fascinating Motown Around the World set) and, elsewhere in Europe, five live tracks recorded in Paris for a Motortown Revue compilation.

All in all, this new title is sure to be a neat way to keep on celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary. Check out the order link and track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 14, 2011 at 21:40

Posted in News, Reissues, The Supremes

Friday Feature: “The Thing”

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Our enjoyment of music takes many shapes and sizes, from the most basic of digital files to the vast quantities of reissues and box sets we all enjoy around The Second Disc. Part of the nervous excitement in being a collector is really never knowing what your latest musical obsession will look or sound like – and that’s, I think, what keeps us coming back.

Now, replace “music” with “an alien virus from another planet” and “nervous excitement” with “crippling terror” and you have the subject of our latest Friday Feature, John Carpenter’s sci-fi/horror classic interpretation of The Thing. Far too often overlooked is the rich history of the story that became one of the most chilling alien flicks of the past three decades – or the musical pedigree of both film adaptations. So bundle up, grab your flamethrower and get ready for terror – musical terror – to take shape.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 14, 2011 at 17:39

Practice, Practice, Practice: Frank Zappa, Flo and Eddie Get to Carnegie Hall

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Eddie, are you kidding?

Is the Zappa Family Trust finally liberating Frank Zappa’s October 11, 1971 concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall from the vaults?  What’s that?  Four discs, you say?  Remastered in mono?  Yes, it’s all true.  When Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention took the stage at Carnegie Hall forty years ago, the performances were recorded for future release on Warner Bros. Records, the label with which Zappa was often at war.  Well, forty years later, that release is here.  The ZFT promises a “warts and all” ticket to both complete shows performed on that date.  The simply-titled Frank Zappa – Carnegie Hall will take the form of a 4-CD box set, due on October 31 and currently offered exclusively at the Barfko-Swill store for $42.00.

Before that evening in 1971, had Carnegie Hall ever before seen the likes of Frank Zappa?  Though the hall periodically hosted rock shows, Zappa’s oeuvre defied such simplistic description.  Perhaps a more “typical” Carnegie Hall debut was made the same year as Zappa’s, that of Yo-Yo Ma.  But nothing about the man born Frank Vincent Zappa was typical.  In his short 52 years, Zappa furiously broke down the walls between rock, pop, jazz and classical music, releasing some 62 albums during his lifetime.  A passionate defender of freedom of speech and denouncer of censorship of any kind, Zappa melded intricate, experimental melodies and arrangements with incisive, forthright lyrics that were often humorous and frequently off-color.

By 1971, Zappa had already made his mark on the industry with a number of revolutionary records.  The Mothers of Invention’s 1966 Freak Out! was a radical answer to the pop music of the day, combining experimental sound collages with R&B and doo-wop pastiches and absurdist elements.  It still sounds like no other rock album, but it was just a portent of things to come from Zappa.  Absolutely Free (1967) not only targeted the authority but the counterculture as well; Zappa beat to the sound of his own drummer.  Lumpy Gravy (1968) was credited to Zappa solo, and took things a step further.  It was an ambitious mélange of orchestral arrangements, spoken word and electronic experiments; through his use of the Synclavier, Zappa would be a pioneering musician in the latter field right up to the time of his death.  Two more albums from the same year, We’re Only In It For The Money and Cruising with Ruben and the Jets, saw the auteur both expanding his sound palette and referencing the beloved music of his youth, respectively.  The former was a wicked parody of flower power, complete with Sgt. Pepper-spoofing cover, while the latter was a spot-on doo-wop homage that showed Zappa fully understood the rules of pop music before breaking them.

The original Mothers of Invention disbanded in 1969, with the prolific composer and songwriter continuing to record solo works (such as the jazz-inflected Hot Rats) and tackling his first major symphonic work, conducted by Zubin Mehta.  When Zappa reformed the Mothers in 1970, three alumni of the Turtles joined him: bassist Jim Pons and vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, a.k.a. Flo and Eddie.  Ian Underwood, Don Preston and Aynsley Dunbar completed the line-up that joined Zappa that evening at Carnegie Hall.

Hit the jump for more on this immortal incarnation of the band! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 14, 2011 at 13:11

Rush To A “Sector” With Band’s Remastered and Boxed Mercury Catalogue

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Rush may be Canadian, but the classic rock trio has the perfect soundtrack for your Thanksgiving!  On November 21, Universal Music Enterprises will follow their acclaimed reissue earlier this year of 1981’s Moving Pictures with the release of three separate six-disc box sets.  Collecting the entire Rush output between 1974 and 1989, including both live and studio albums, the Rush Sector box sets span the entire historic Mercury Records tenure of Geddy Lee (bass, keyboard, vocals), Alex Lifeson (guitar) and Neil Peart (drummer).  (John Rutsey drummed on Rush’s eponymous Mercury debut.)  Each ‘Sector’ contains five of their 15 Mercury albums in chronological order on compact disc. Every album has been freshly remastered, but the real attraction for many collectors will undoubtedly be in the inclusion in each box set of one title remixed into 5.1 surround.

In addition, each volume includes a new booklet containing photos, lyrics and credits.  The surround titles will be presented in true high resolution 96 kHz/24-bit, 5.1 surround sound and stereo, compatible with both DVD-Audio players and DVD-Video players. Each individual album is packaged in a replica vinyl mini-jacket, with all three box sets forming a Rush CD road case.

The albums selected for the 5.1 treatment are Fly By Night (1975), A Farewell to Kings (1977) and Signals (1982).  Based on the fine job of engineer Richard Chycki on the Moving Pictures surround mix, listeners equipped for 5.1 should be in for a treat.  The inclusion of the albums as box set exclusives, though, may give some pause, as the trend is becoming more and more prevalent each year.  (This year’s box set exclusive surround mixes include the quad albums of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, both from Pink Floyd, plus all of the surround components of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung and The Who’s Quadrophenia.  James Guthrie’s 5.1 mix of Wish You Were Here will, however, be released as a stand-alone SACD.)

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 14, 2011 at 09:26

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, Rush