The Second Disc

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Archive for November 8th, 2011

Tuesday Takes: Rolling Stones Offer “Some Girls” Vinyl Single, Ace Goes to Muscle Shoals with Aretha, Etta and Irma

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  • When a classic soul fan thinks of the “Muscle Shoals” sound, chances are he’s referring to the music made at Rick Hall’s FAME (that’s Florence Alabama Music Enterprises!) Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.   Though the House that Hall Built has been celebrated on past anthologies, none has been quite so comprehensive as the 3-CD set due for release from U.K.-based Ace Records.  The FAME Studios Story 1961-1973 (KENTBOX 12, 2011) is the result of two years’ worth of research conducted by Ace in the FAME vaults and the latest release in an ongoing series of FAME-related titles from Ace and sister labels Kent and BGP.  Its 75 tracks have been curated in true Ace style, spotlighting both the familiar and the criminally unknown.  Over one-third of its tracks are new to CD, and more than a dozen cuts are previously unreleased, including recent discoveries from Otis Redding and Arthur Alexander!  Producer Alec Palao told that “I have worked on master tapes and multi-tracks from the great studios of the world — Stax, Gold Star, Abbey Road, etc. — and Rick’s stand up there with the best of them for the sheer quality of recording and the way he put things on tape.”  In addition to the artists mentioned above, you’ll hear Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Arthur Conley, Irma Thomas, Joe Tex, Joe Simon and Lou Rawls. Behind the scenes, writers, producers and players including Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham and George Jackson are represented.  Though The FAME Studios Story offers scorching Southern Soul, pop fans needn’t be discouraged, either.  The Osmonds, Tommy Roe and Bobbie Gentry all make appearances!  Visit Ace for the full track listing and sound samples!  The FAME Studios Story arrives today as an import.

Hit the jump for news of The Rolling Stones’ addition to the Black Friday Record Store Day campaign! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 8, 2011 at 14:03

Hell Yeah: “The Very Best of Neil Diamond” Set For December

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Neil Diamond announced himself to the world in 1966 with the lyrics to his song “Solitary Man.”  He sang with both defiance and resignation, “I’ll be what I am, a solitary man…”  At no time, then, was that more evident than Diamond’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2010.  His old friend Paul Simon pointed out in his introduction that Diamond had first been eligible for the Rock Hall in 1991 and asked, “What took so long?” Simon then, a bit devilishly, answered his own question: “Six words: ’You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’.”  He continued of Diamond’s smash 1978 duet, “It’s Barbra Streisand,” he said. “It’s not rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t even think they let that DNA near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”  But Diamond has always stood apart from the rest. He went on to steal the show that night with a speech that was more fiercely, raggedly rock ‘n’ roll than that of Alice Cooper, Tom Waits or Leon Russell, and then proceeded to top that.  Contrary to expectation, Diamond didn’t deliver a set composed solely of his early, tougher rockers.  Instead, he delivered a triumphant rendition of a genuine anthem but hardly one thought of as rock:  “I Am…I Said.”  Yes, Neil Diamond is a solitary man of many contradictions, but his star continues to burn brightly after nearly 50 years in music.

Diamond will receive the nation’s highest arts recognition, The Kennedy Center Honors, later this year, and to celebrate the artist’s longevity, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings are releasing The Very Best of Neil Diamond on December 6.  Hard as it may be to believe, The Very Best will be the first-ever single-CD career-spanning anthology of Diamond’s work to include the original studio recordings for the Bang, Uni, Capitol and Columbia labels.  (Past compilations have either concentrated on one label or the other, or substituted live versions for songs not controlled by the issuing label.)  Though Diamond has recorded in a variety of settings over the year, the man’s heartfelt investment in his music has always remained the same.

The collection boasts a generous 23 tracks, but difficult choices must have been made in pruning the prolific artist’s catalogue of over 30 studio albums (16 of which went Top 10) and over 50 charting singles (37 of which went Top 10).  All of Diamond’s No. 1 singles are here: 1970’s “Cracklin’ Rosie,” 1972’s “Song Sung Blue” and 1978’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”  There are eight more Top 10 singles on The Very Best of Neil Diamond, spanning the period between 1966’s “Cherry, Cherry” and 1980’s “Hello, Again,” “Love on the Rocks” and “America,” all from the soundtrack to The Jazz Singer.

Hit the jump for more details, including the full track listing and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 8, 2011 at 10:21