The Second Disc

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Archive for October 21st, 2011

Miles Ahead: Davis’ 1986-1991 Warner Years Boxed

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Could anyone ever truly offer The Last Word on Miles Davis?  Warner Bros. and Rhino attempted to do just that back in 2001-2002, with the planned release of a box set of the same name.  Of course, the set was planned to be the last word on the trumpeter’s Warner Bros. years, the last period of his lengthy career.  The Last Word began as a 6-CD set, and a little sleuthing around the ‘net will yield a fascinating track listing of a 77-track comprehensive box, loaded with previously unreleased material including the Prince collaboration “Can I Play with U,” as well as soundtrack spots and guest appearances on records by Toto, Cameo, Paolo Rusticelli, Chaka Khan and others.  Soon, legal and licensing issues arose, and six discs became four.  The abridged 4-CD set was announced and released for review (you can read one assessment here) before being abandoned.

Flash forward to 2011.  Warner’s European arm has at long last issued a box set of Miles Davis’ 1986-1991 years at the Warner Bros. label.  The 5-CD The Warner Years: 1986-1991 doesn’t offer the wealth of riches that the previous box would have.  Gone are all but four of the previously unreleased tracks, along with some of the collaborations including the much-heralded Prince track.  Much, but not all, of the licensed material is absent, with “We Three Kings” from the film Scrooged and all but one track from Jack Nitzsche’s soundtrack to The Hot Spot among the deleted tracks.   What remains?  The Warner Years offers the complete albums Tutu (1986), Amandla (1989), Live Around the World (1996), Miles and Quincy Live at Montreux (1991) and  Doo-Bop (1991), plus seven selections from the soundtrack of Dingo (1991) and five from Siesta (1987).  Its fifth disc includes four unreleased songs and performances on which Davis accompanied Scritti Politti, Cameo, Chaka Khan, Zucchero, Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller and Shirley Horn.  As it stands, The Warner Years is a hybrid between a “Complete Recordings” box set and a period overview/anthology.  (The box follows the release earlier this year of Tutu as a deluxe 2-CD edition, with a second disc of unreleased live material.)

We pick up the story after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 21, 2011 at 14:56

Pink Floyd, Beatles, Nirvana, Doors Lead Off Record Store Day Exclusives On “Black Friday”

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For those of us who still savor the experience of shopping in a physical environment, Record Store Day has become a yearly tradition.  It’s sometimes frustrating and sometimes exciting, but few could argue with an event that spotlights the hard-working independent music retailers out there who believe that brick-and-mortar retail can still thrive in the iTunes era.  (Amen to that!)  A more recent offshoot of Record Store Day has been the mini-event held each Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving.  While crowds line up each year at Best Buy or Wal-Mart in the wee hours, a rare breed has been doing the same at the record shop in the hopes of obtaining a number of exclusive releases, most of which are on vinyl.  This year’s Black Friday crop boasts reissues from some of the biggest names in rock: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, The Doors and so many more.

With Black Friday just around the corner, Record Store Day has revealed the full list of exclusive titles.  Among the highlights are a number of 7-inch single releases.   From The Beatles, a box set will offer four picture sleeve singles in a sturdy flip-top box.  Pink Floyd’s singles box is dedicated to The Wall, and consists of three 7-inch singles in picture sleeves.  Both box sets feature a Record Store Day-branded adapter and a poster.  Pink Floyd fans might also be interested in a release from Mick Rock.  Syd Barrett is remembered with The Photography of Mick Rock.  The box includes photographs of the legendary Floyd member plus a 7-inch single of “Octopus” b/w “Golden Hair” on yellow vinyl.  A limited, numbered 7-inch set from Bob Dylan offers four singles and includes a sticker of the artist.  Janis Joplin also gets the 7-inch box treatment; her Move Over! offers four previously unreleased picture sleeve singles, including six never-before-released tracks and two rarities.  The box itself includes a photo print of Janis and a temporary tattoo replica of her tattoo.  Joplin is also the recipient of a 180-gram vinyl box set containing four original albums.  The Doors’ L.A. Woman set includes four singles, the fourth of which consists of studio chatter.

Sundazed is offering a number of 7-inches from its deep catalogue.  The Yardbirds’ “Ha Ha Said the Clown” b/w “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor”  is a 1967 U.S. single that never received U.K. release, and “Ten Little Indians” is another U.S. mono single from the same year showcasing Jimmy Page’s experimental studio work.  Two more singles come from The Byrds.  “The Times They Are A-Changin’” b/w “She Don’t Care About Time” was originally earmarked for single release but that never happened; now, the Dylan covers arrive in their originally intended format.  These are joined by “Eight Miles High” b/w “Why” in their mono RCA Studios versions.  The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Alley Oop” b/w “Night Owl Blues,” another “single that never was,” rounds out the label’s releases.

After the jump, you’ll find more Record Store Day titles revealed including those from Nirvana, John Lennon and Pete Townshend, plus the complete track listings to each and every one of these releases we’ve discussed above!  Read the rest of this entry »

To the Edge of Glory and Back: Gaga Reissues “Born This Way” with Extra Discs for Holidays

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It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a few reissues of recent works, and we’ve got a big one coming up in just a month: a sprawling three-disc version of Lady Gaga’s monster hit album Born This Way.

Love her or hate her, the New York girl born Stefani Germanotta has gone from Madonna-aping pop singer to bizarro pop-cultural force since her 2008 debut. The release of this year’s Born This Way, her second studio-length effort (following 2009’s excellent EP The Fame Monster and a throwaway remix album), was a major event in and of itself, selling over a million copies in its first week of release, the highest-selling single week debut in five years. (The controversial first-week Amazon MP3 price of 99 cents probably helped drive sales.)

While it’s not her most focused work, the number of influences she draws from on the record – not only Madonna but Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Def Leppard, Whitney Houston, CHIC and Bruce Springsteen (poignant, mood-heightening album closer “The Edge of Glory,” featuring the last studio work of the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, is one of the highlights) – is impressive. And the quartet of Top 10 hits, including the title track (the 1,000th song to top the Billboard charts), “Judas,” “The Edge of Glory” and “Yoü and I,” aren’t too shabby either. (Fifth single “Marry the Night,” to be released alongside this new reissue, might join the ranks soon.)

As The Fame Monster was available on its own or with The Fame for the 2009 holiday season, Born This Way: The Collection is a combination of several new Gaga titles that will be available on their own for those who already got their copy of the album itself. In addition to the 17-track special edition version of the album (albeit without the remix disc that appeared in said package), fans will get Born This Way: The Remix, a new remix album featuring 14 all-new reconfigurations of tracks from noted DJs and dance producers, and the DVD of The Monster Ball Tour special broadcast on HBO earlier this spring. (Both the remix set and the live show will be available separately, with Monster Ball coming to DVD and Blu-Ray.)

All these sets – plus Gaga’s Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson photo book – will be available November 21. Order the three-disc set at Amazon here and check the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 21, 2011 at 09:57