The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for November 7th, 2011

Kritzerland Goes “Inside Out” with Jan Maxwell and Ann Crumb

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The Kritzerland team would be forgiven for slowing down after such an exciting fall, what with the sold-out, 2-CD deluxe edition of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (read our interview here!) and the expanded release of Elmer Bernstein’s score to Summer and Smoke.  But the label isn’t slowing down, at all, but barreling towards 2012 with a full slate of more exciting releases.  Today, Kritzerland announced not one, but two, new titles.  In addition to the brand-new Melodyland, the debut recording by 13-year old rising cabaret star Melody Hollis, the label is bringing the Off-Broadway Cast Recording of Adryan Russ and Doug Haverty’s Inside Out back to CD in a remastered edition.

Inside Out premiered at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre on October 28, 1994, where it enjoyed a 74-performance run.  Its six-member ensemble included Tony Award nominee Jan Maxwell, currently starring as Phyllis Rogers-Stone in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.  Another Tony nominee, Ann Crumb (Aspects of Love, Anna Karenina), joined Harrriett D. Foy (Once On This Island, Mamma Mia), Kathleen Mahony-Bennett (Anything Goes), Cass Morgan (Pump Boys & Dinettes, Memphis), and Julie Prosser (Baby) in the production.

Reissue producer Bruce Kimmel describes the musical: “A therapy group, headed by group leader (Grace), is transformed forever when a new person (Dena) joins the group and winds up being a catalyst for change in the lives of (Sage) a flower child of the ‘80s, a powerful businesswoman (Liz), a gay, bank employee single mom (Chlo) of a teenage son, and (Molly), a mother of two young children who’s dealing with weight issues.   Featuring tuneful music by Adryan Russ and insightful lyrics by Russ and Doug Haverty, Inside Out, is every bit as timely today as it was when it premiered off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater, where it received excellent reviews and praise for its amazing cast.”

Hit the jump for more, including the track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 7, 2011 at 14:41

Review: Billy Joel, “Piano Man: Legacy Edition”

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Since the dawn of the new millennium, most of the archival material that catalogue enthusiasts want come to us in the form of the dreaded deluxe edition: a bonus disc of rarities or outtakes appended to a long-released, newly-remastered album. With the record industry at a crossroads unlike anything it’s ever had to deal with, it’s astounding that most treats for die-hard music aficionados come at a higher price tag, filled sometimes in large part with material one already owns in at least one capacity.

But there’s another way at looking at these packages other than a quick way to turn out a few bucks: the argument that these sets are bolstering the context of a particular artist or artistic statement. It’s a view, crazy as it may be, that The Second Disc has often tried to espouse. Thinking of the old saw that journalism is the first draft of history, it’s sometimes comforting to look at deluxe editions as the history book as well as its first draft.

That viewpoint proves a major problem for the new Legacy Edition of Piano Man (Columbia/Legacy 88697 61901-2), Billy Joel’s acclaimed debut for the label that’s kept him a major artist for nearly four decades. The bonus content captures a fleeting moment of greatness before the captivating legend of Joel – the sensitive balladeer with a wicked and often public dark side – grabs the world by the collar and refuses to let go. And, as bonus discs go, it’s one that really raises the value of the package.

There’s just one problem: the bonus disc is absolutely in the wrong context.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 7, 2011 at 12:59

Posted in Billy Joel, Reissues, Reviews

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Hip-o Select Gets on the Good Foot with Lost Fred Wesley Album

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Hip-o Select’s James Brown singles sets may be done with the recent release of Volume 11, but the Godfather of Soul’s catalogue has a lot of uncovered treasures, and a new release from the boutique label continues to uncover the legend of Brown and his crack team of musicians – in particular one Fred Wesley.

Wesley, Brown’s longtime trombonist, arranger and musical director in the 1960s and 1970s, is best known to casual J.B. fans as the credited force behind the funky No. 1 soul single “Doing It to Death” (by Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s) in 1973. But the jazz-trained Wesley’s true solo album under his own name, recorded a year before, was consigned to the shelves on Brown’s People Records, with only a pair of forgotten 45s, including a take on Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” to show for it.

Now, Select unearths the entire album as Wesley intended audiences to hear it, a nine-track affair with four bonus cuts to boot. An interesting turn, however, is that much of the album – while credited to the J.B.’s – instead utilizes crack jazz musicians from New York City. (Joe Farrell, Eddie Daniels, Steve Gadd, Ron Carter and both Randy and Michael Brecker are just a few of the names on the LP. Of the intended LP, the only true J.B.’s track is “Watermelon Man,” with a certain funky Godfather sitting in on the drum set.)

The disc closes out with four tracks from the same sessions that were issued on non-LP singles. In total, six of these tracks are being heard for the first time anywhere, counting a version of “Transmogripification” that lasts longer than the version on The J.B.’s Hustle with Speed album in 1975.

With the release of this lost album, it looks like there will be plenty of projects to catalogue the legend and mystique of The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. The disc ships November 18 and can be ordered after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 7, 2011 at 10:18

Of Dead and Downloads: Grateful Dead’s “30 Days of Dead” Free Program Returns

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The long, strange journey continues!  The 2011 calendar has been dotted with plenty of releases to sate even the most voracious Deadhead, with live concerts preserved in the recently-concluded Road Trips series and the Blu-Ray debut of The Grateful Dead Movie, the massive Europe ’72 box set and some vinyl exclusives, like a Record Store Day release for Black Friday and Dick’s Picks LPs arriving through Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana’s newly-launched Real Gone Music.

As a “token of our appreciation for making 2011 an epic year,” the band is giving away a 320 kbps MP3 download each and every day this November.  These tracks will add up to quite a collection of vault material at no cost!  A promotion such as this truly utilizes the digital realm in the best way possible, bringing music to fans immediately while still supplementing the band’s series of impressive, ongoing physical releases.

Tape archivist David Lemieux is curating this year’s “30 Days of Dead” in conjunction with a trivia contest asking diehard fans to identify each day’s performance!  Longtime fans likely won’t want to miss the opportunity to enter the contest; there are daily prizes, and the grand prize is a Music-Only Edition of Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings!

Hit the jump for more details! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 7, 2011 at 09:35